Interview: Jordie Lane

Jordie Lane
Image Courtesy of Jordie Lane

Jordie Lane is back in Australia after some time in North America and he’s hot on the festival trail as well as performing at a bunch of headline dates around the country. We sat down with Lane to chat about the tour, what it’s like to be an Australian in LA and his collaborations with songwriter Clare Reynolds.

Gareth Hugh Evans: You’ve just come back from a massive tour of the US with The Stray Birds. Are you pretty much based over there now?

Jordie Lane: I’m there on a semi-permanent basis. Basically Los Angeles is my base for the whole world – it’s kind geographically in between everywhere that I’m going.

GHE: I’m assuming you still feel like a bit of an outsider there, having the accent and all.

JL: I completely feel like an outsider. But it’s a really good place to be I guess, always traveling and on the edge. It’s funny because I think that’s why you go because you want to be an outsider. I don’t really hang out with other Australians [in LA] – it’s actually pretty weird when you find yourself at some Hollywood bar with an Australian act playing and all the Aussies are there. In saying that it’s so awesome to come home. I’ve been so far away from home for a long time – this is almost a whole 12 months that we’ve spent away from home. It was the longest I’ve ever been away from Melbourne. It’s awesome to come back and soak it in. Even just looking at the way the houses look, the street signs, things like that. I didn’t realise how much I was craving a bit of my memories from home.

GHE: Does living in LA and touring America a lot impact on your songwriting? I guess the reason I ask is a lot of my favourite songs of yours – “Black Diamond”, “I Could Die Looking At You”, “The Publican’s Daughter” – are about Australia and the Australian experience. Does living in the US mean you’re writing less about Australia?

JL: Maybe not less but I am definitely writing more about my experiences in America. There is a few place name drops in there. And that’s kind of a weird thing at first – it feels like a betrayal or something – and I’m just trying to work out what to do with that. These are songs that are in the very early stages. But coming back here right now there’s still a whole lot of stories that I’ve only half told in my head about Australia and that’s what I love doing when I’m in America with American audiences – y’know, telling them stories about Australia whether it be the “Black Diamond” mining story or the two dogs trying to kill each other in my back yard in Thornbury. The audiences really love that. Hopefully it only strengthens my connections with home and hopefully I’ll sing about it more and more.

GHE: I find that the most patriotic people are the ones that don’t live in the country they’re from.

JL: Yeah, definitely. You’re flying the flag or explaining cultural misconceptions to everybody about what they think your country is like. So it keeps cementing what your country actually means to you all the time because every single day someone’s asking “where’s that accent from” or “I wish I could go to Australia”.

GHE: So now that you’re home you’re hitting the road with festivals and headline shows including Nannup and The Blue Mountains Folk Festival.

JL: We were pencilled in to do [the The Blue Mountains Folk Festival] a couple of times and things just didn’t work in anyone’s favour scheduling wise so we’re really excited to finally play the festival for the first time. I’ve been to the Blue Mountains a bunch and played The Clarendon a lot but it will be cool to do the festival. I’ve heard really good things.

GHE: And you’re playing all these shows with Clare Reynolds right?

JL: Yeah, as a duo.

GHE: I saw you guys play as a duo at The National Folk Festival last year.

JL: Yeah! That was our one thing we came back to Australia to do. We’ve amped it up a bit – Clare’s doing keyboards and drum case percussion. We’ve been doing a lot of shows in the US and Canada which have been really good for us. The piano really adds something else to it.

GHE: I love the guitar case percussion. I think that’s awesome.

JL: We’ve got that case hanging on for dear life. It’s so fragile now! We’re packing it full of underwear and t-shirts and stuff. That’s kind of become Clare’s suitcase that she’s allowed to bring on tour and then I let her put a few things in my actual suitcase. It’s hilarious – the harshest, mean sound guys in the world scoff that we’re never going get a sound out of that guitar case. And then they turn the microphone on and they’re like “Whoa! The resonate frequency’s amazing!”.

GHE: Wherever you can you seem to be playing as a duo with Clare. Is that your “act” now? Are you a duo act?

JL: Most of the tour with The Stray Birds was solo. So it really just depends. Clare is a fulltime songwriter so she’s in studios and working with artists and producers almost five days a week, every week of the year. I have to ask her to come on tour and hopefully she has time to do it. It’s a bit of both – about half and half at the moment. For festivals we’re loving doing the duo thing.

GHE: I also so that you’ve got Rowena Wise as your support for your headline dates this time around. I saw her in Sydney recently – she’s something special. She writes some really nice songs and has a great stage presence so you’ve scored with her as your support.

JL: I’m really excited for that. We met her at The National Folk Festival last year and saw her and her sister Lucy perform. I’m really excited for her – I just love her voice.

GHE: Well that’s everything I’ve got for you today. Thanks so much for spending some time with me today!

JL: Thanks mate! Talk to you soon.

The full dates for Jordie Lane’s Australian tour are below:

Friday 27th February – Mojo’s, Fremantle, WA
Saturday 28th February to Monday 2nd March – Nannup Music Festival, Nannup, WA
Friday 6th to Monday 9th March – Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC
Tuesday 10th March – Ten Days On The Island Festival, Hobart, TAS
Wednesday 11th March – The Melbourne Folk Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March – Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 26th March – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 27th March – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 28th March – The Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Friday 10th to Sunday 12th April – Fairbridge Folk Festival, Fairbridge, WA
Friday 17th April – The Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 18th April – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 19th April – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 22nd April – Ararat Live, Ararat, VIC
Thursday 23rd April – Beav’s Bar, Geelong VIC
Friday 24th to Sunday 26th April – Mt Beauty Music Festival, Mt Beauty, VIC

1 Comment

  1. March 27, 2015 at 15:56

    […] “I am definitely writing more about my experiences in America. There is a few place name drops in there. And that’s kind of a weird thing at first – it feels like a betrayal or something – and I’m just trying to work out what to do with that. These are songs that are in the very early stages. But coming back here right now there’s still a whole lot of stories that I’ve only half told in my head about Australia and that’s what I love doing when I’m in America with American audiences” – Jordie Lane chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Details here […]


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